OK, here's my promised update. I just came back from LA visiting at a friend's house that has a DaLite High Power 156" Diagonal 16x9 screen with a Mitsubishi HD4000U (with a 2x color wheel) as I was curious to compare his machine to the WD2000U. Views on BOTH PJs' and my opinions are based on the same 1080p QuickTime trailers downloaded from the Apple's Website that I used to compare both machines. Here are my observations:
- THESE ARE NOT THE SAME MACHINES, BEING JUST THE WD2000U A HIGHER OUTPUT MACHINE WITH A LARGER BULB THAN THE HD4000U. NO. NIGHT AND DAY.
- The WD2000U is a much larger unit built in a rugged casing.
- The connections block on the back is totally different meaning, at least side motherboards inside the unit are also different.
- The size of the optics is much larger on the WD2000U than on the HD4000U and they seem of a very different quality all-together. Aside from featuring lens shifting, being larger in diameter and a bit faster (bigger aperture means more native light output thru them to start with no matter the light engine block and the power on the bulb), the most important issue is that I found the lens on the HD4000U to be of dramatically low quality. Unlike when I walked to the screen and stood a couple of inches away from it when watching the WD2000U that was DEAD ON SHARP
with positively no signs of softness or color aberrations, the same thing on the HD4000U proved quite differently. There is a purple ringing and slight softness to the image that you cannot get into perfect focus no matter what. Five feet and more away from the screen, this tends to vanish of course but it is an indication that the optics quality between the two units are two different worlds. To me this matters a lot. Just as I am fairly insensitive to RBE, I cannot stand panel misconvergence issues, soft focus, poor optics or brightness uniformity issues... I will touch all of these below:
- Next, the most important issue. RBE. It was CLEARLY ON MY FACE on the HD4000U. However, I could not get it to bother me on the WD2000U when I tried to see it really hard. So, whether this means the HD4000U's color wheel rotates slower than the WH2000U I have no clue. What I do know is that these two projectors as far as RBE do NOT
look the same.
- Finally, CR, Color and General Performance: First of all, it is important the everyone understands that the implementation of White Segments on Color wheels and TI's BrilliantColor are not the same for every projector's design, and that data and "HT" machines have different take-offs on both blueprints.
The BrilliantColor and mode settings on the WD4000U and WD2000U are completely different. So are the menus. Totally different all-together.
While on the HD4000U BrilliantColor can be widely turned on or off via menu controls, on the WD2000U its integrated as part of the mode's settings. The HD4000U had 117 hours on the bulb, while the WD2000U almost 400. Brightness between he two was NIGHT AND DAY
. The specs say a difference of 1000 lumens, that, one can initially attribute to both a larger bulb and faster lens on the WD2000U but the real world told me another story. On a much larger screen, doubtfully with the same gain as the High Power DaLite and with more hours on the bulb, the brightness on the WD2000U was vastly, vastly superior (I compare this after quickly having calibrated both machines to a quick good color fix, no white clippings and other things that can severely impair better image quality in exchange for maximum brightness). So this is really good news.
Continuing, while low and high power light modes had a large impact on the HD4000U, it did not so much on the WD2000U, that on IS VASTLY QUIETER
than its HD4000U brother with much more light output. Again, this is great news. I noticed all the fans on the HD4000U to be smaller and rotating faster at a higher pitch while on the WD2000U they were larger and rotated clearly slower taking advantage of the overall larger size of the unit itself.
Also, the effect of BrilliantColor on color saturation and mid-tone values is somewhat noticeable on the HD4000U specially on yellows, but not so on the WD2000U. I remember toggling back and forth between the bright and theater/high contrast modes, and colors stayed locked and well saturated. I have a clear opinion that while the HD4000U's implementation is tweaked to optimize data display, the WD2000U is tuned for large screens HTs/ large venues environments and so does BrilliantColor's integration, designed for optimum home theater needing high light output. This is further clear to me by evidently seeing some dithering in mid and high tones on the HD4000U and having not noticed them at all on the WD2000U.
Finally, brightness uniformity and color. Brightness uniformity was a total joke on the HD4000U with a clear hot spot on the center and dimmed areas on the corners (specially on the lower right side) while uniformity was impeccable to the eye on the WD2000U when viewing a blank white image. Maybe the HD4000U had poor alignment on the bulb or maybe it was a one-off unit with this issue, but, it was very apparent. And to conclude, Color: with all BrilliantColor enhancements off, and calibrated to the eye as best I could within the few minutes I dedicated to the test, the HD4000U was overall OK but it never gave me the same punch while it was fairly dim by the time I thought it was good for my humble movie watching taste. On the WD2000U, it was a different story. I felt the colors to be more solid, CR greatly more gracious and solid, mid-tones and shadow detail much more defined, all of it, while still having near-blinding brightness at hand to largely spare, even after I quickly calibrated it for the best color and within the theatre/low power/high contrast mode. I end with a more generic observation and that is, that the overall sharpness of the HD4000U is no match for the cut-throat crispness of the WD2000U. Maybe its "just" the lens, maybe better software, maybe a better internal scaler, maybe its the video card used on the PC's feeding the content (I have no clue what was on the PC connected to the WD2000U while I know it was a new NVidia 7900 feeding the HD4000U), but, whatever it is, DVI to DVI, fed the very same 1080p signal (internally downcoverted by the PJ to 720p) and watching exactely the exact same content bit-by-bit (The DaVinci Code, King Kong and V for Vendetta Trailers), the WD2000U is a V8 engine and the HD4000U a superchaged 4 cylinder
So that's it. I hope I didn't bore anyone with this comparative mini-review. I tried my best to be both impartial and recalling the image on the WD2000U on my mind as of 3 days ago with the ones of the HD4000U, today. I am now, double excited about the WD2000U, because when compared to the HD4000U, I can only say, we are definitely NOT
talking about the same category product. Thoroughly different beasts. The WD2000U seems to be a much more solid product, coupled with features at hand I cannot live without, quality components, optics to match and enough light output to both calibrate it to death without fears of dimming results, and, VERY IMPORTANT
, giving us a large grace period of available light on screen, even as the hours mount as the bulb starts aging. The WD2000U is a pro-built product and light-wise, a machine with enough horsepower to endure the test of the hours adding up as you use it. Based on current bulb designs that as we all know is fairly flawed and hit us invariable with a quick reduction of output within the first few hundred hours of usage, I feel to be a blessing to have a product that comes out of the box with light to spare, that 1000 hours or more down the road, can still be calibrated to the spark it had out of the box as far as lumens are concerned. And all of this at a price that cannot be matched by anything else on the market. I cannot think of a better "fairly-disposable" machine that I can happily live with it till the ridiculous prices of the new 1080p kids on the block become realistic.
Alan, when can I get mine?